Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Oleander Help

Dear Anne,

I apologize if you've already answered this question for another gardener, but I was not able to find anything on your site. I have an Oleander plant that I bought in September - I transplanted it then and have been watering and fertilizing once or twice a month with miracle grow. I have had it in the house now for three or four months because of the cold. Until a few weeks ago the plant has been doing wonderfully - it had new growth and even clusters of flowers. However now the flower buds seem to be turning black at the base and dying before they ever open and a new development of on some of the leaves, a black, brownish rot look sort of has started appearing. I'm not sure what's wrong. Is the plant lacking light? Fungus? Bugs? Any advice you have would be most helpful and of course solutions. Thank you very much!

- Dorothy, Georgia

Anne's Response:

I think your oleander is suffering from an excess of fertilizer. It is not happy as a house plant although it will grow as a greenhouse plant with a lot of light. The plant has a natural dormant cycle in the winter and would like a rest period with enough water to keep it alive and a short time when it does not bloom. It does have leaf spot diseases and that is probably what you are seeing as brown spots on the leaves. It helps to pull off the infected leaves and when it is warm enough to take the plant outside for the day you may want to apply a fungicide such as the one made by Bayer that acts as a systemic fungicide.

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